A report shows guy buyback programs don't work.
(Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

A recently released study on the effectiveness of so-called gun “buybacks” reveals some important information that anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats probably aren’t going to want to hear.

Gun Buybacks Continue to Misfire

A paper titled “Have U.S. Gun Buybacks Misfired,” authored by Toshio Ferrazares, Joseph J. Sabia and D. Mark Anderson, and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that such “buybacks” have no measurable impact on reducing violent crime.

Firstly, let’s dispense the whole notion of a “buyback.” The government never owned the firearms it attempts to possess. So “compensated confiscation” emerges as a better term for these proposals. Of course, that doesn’t sound quite as good on a big-city mayor’s resumé as a gun “buyback.”

“Gun buyback programs (GBPs), which use public funds to purchase civilians’ privately-owned firearms, aim to reduce gun violence,” reads the paper’s abstract. “However, little is known about their effects on firearm-related crime or deaths. Using data from the National Incident Based Reporting System, we find no evidence that GBPs reduce gun crime.”

That said, the abstract continued even further with additional information that should put an end to the fallacy of such shenanigans once and for all.

“Given our estimated null findings, with 95 percent confidence, we can rule out decreases in firearm-related crime of greater than 1.3 percent during the year following a buyback,” the abstract concluded. “Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, we also find no evidence that GBPs reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.”

Deep Dive on Data

Deep within the analysis of the research are some other pretty interesting facts the trio discovered.

“GBPs may fail to reduce gun violence for a number of reasons,” the researchers wrote. “First, if the price city governments are willing to pay gun owners is less than the value of the firearm for most sellers, a relatively small number of firearms may be collected. Second, if criminals believe law-abiding citizens (and potential victims) are relinquishing their firearms, then they may be more willing to commit gun crimes following a GBP.”

In truth, the fact that criminals don’t turn in their guns at buybacks is only a single part of the reason such programs are grossly ineffective. The supply of guns fails to categorize the United States crime problem. Rather, criminal demand for guns jumps out. Collecting “garbage guns” from non-criminals closets fails to end violent crime. It compares to eliminated speeders by going after bicyclists. Maybe we should fire all the female interns to stop a cheating husband. In every case, the people targeted fail to comprise the root of the problem.

On the other hand, targeted policing aimed at stopping the most violent offenders from continuing their life of crime is a real common-sense strategy that has proven quite effective whenever and wherever tried. Anti-gunners just don’t like that tactic. They want increased gun control to become the successful strategy.

Of course, even anti-gun bureaucrats and media alluded to ineffectual buyback programs in the past. Some even admitted the facts without such solid empirical evidence available.

Not New Info

Back in 2013, USA Today reported that “researchers who have evaluated gun control strategies say buybacks—despite their popularity—are among the least effective ways to reduce gun violence.” Bloomberg-funded anti-gun website The Trace even acknowledged buybacks fail at getting guns out of the hands of criminals. The no-longer available story admitted buybacks serve more useful as PR efforts for politicians seeking to show they’re “doing something” about crime.

How, then, do anti-gun bureaucrats and politicians justify such “buybacks” when they know—and studies prove—that they don’t reduce crime. For that answer, look no further than then-Boston Police Commissioner Will B. Evans when a reporter dared question the effectiveness of his city’s buyback program way back in 2015.

“If we get one gun off the street, this program’s effective,” Evans said curtly. While that seems like setting the bar awfully low, the commissioner’s words were serendipitous: At the time of his statement, the city had netted exactly one gun for that year.

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